The cost of a new park chalet in Beaconsfield is raising some eyebrows in the neighbourhood. The city council voted in favour of paying over $3.3 million to upgrade the facilities at Beacon Hill Park.
Built in the 1960s, Beacon Hill Park’s wooden chalet is a vestige of another era. The sprawling park needs a new building to safely accommodate the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, seniors’ groups and many clubs that use the space.
Nobody seems to be questioning that, but some are questioning the price tag.
“It’s good to have infrastructure renewed. I think we need it in our city, but at what cost?” wonders Beaconsfield resident Marie Leveillé.
At Monday night’s Beaconsfield council meeting, elected officials voted 5-1 in favour of the plan to build a new chalet at a cost of over $3.3 million.
“It’s quite a lot. It’s quite extensive, the cost,” said Leveillé.
She isn’t the only resident raising concerns.
“Is the council going to be making public the criteria by which this was evaluated as a suitable sum for the contract, seeing as this is enough to buy an entry level private jet at the same time?” one Beaconsfield resident asked councillors during the meeting’s question period Monday night.
Only one councillor, Martin St-Jean, voted against approving the contract with Construction Ecodomus.
He told the council chamber that because the call for tenders was put forth in July just before Quebec’s construction holiday, that could explain why only one company presented a bid on it.
St-Jean said the timing of the contract means work will likely need to be done in the winter, which is more expensive.
Even though the city managed to negotiate a $100,000 discount, St-Jean felt the price was too high.
Beaconsfield mayor Georges Bourelle declined a request from Global News for an interview, pointing to justifications councillors gave at the meeting.
“There’s no doubt there are increases in all goods and services these days. Some are shocking,” Beaconsfield councillor Dominique Godin said at the meeting, pointing to inflation and the increasing cost of everything.
“Am I thrilled with the $3.374 million price tag on this? No. Do I see it coming down significantly in the future? No,” said councillor David Newell.
Leveillé said she does not see that as an excuse, and that she thinks the city should prioritize other projects first.
The city said about half the of the price of the new chalet should be covered by a grant. The contract says the project must be completed by next July.